From our President: Moving toward just and sustainable practices

August 06, 2019

… the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil …

— Gen 2:9

We know the things of nature that are good and pleasant, and as this verse points out, people will also learn good and evil. We know what is right when it comes to environmental stewardship. We know that the effects of climate change are harshest for those who have the fewest resources.

That’s why the Board of Pensions convened a working group of representatives of all six General Assembly agencies in 2014 to assess and address the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) response to God’s imperative to care for the Earth. The result was the Collaborative Agenda on Environmental Stewardship, unanimously endorsed by the 222nd General Assembly (2016).

Just this month, the Board of Pensions was accepted as a signatory of Climate Action100+, the largest investor collaboration ever assembled. The coalition’s goal: Pressure the 100 top international carbon emitters into meeting the Paris standards. Progress has already been substantial, and you can read more about it here, Climate Action 100+.

In 2017, the Board began investing a portion of its Balanced Investment Portfolio with Impax in its global Leaders Strategy. This fossil fuel-free portfolio seeks companies positioned for long-term profitability based on the transition to sustainable practices. The Board’s investment is valued at $120 million, the largest sustainability investment in PC(USA) history, with returns that have equaled or exceeded the MSCI All Country World Index.

Also in 2017, the Board added the sister fund Pax Global Environmental Markets Fund Institutional Class (PGINX) to the Retirement Savings Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). So, individual Presbyterians can participate in combating climate change.

The Board of Pensions seeks, and implements, positive energy strategies. It is an active participant in efforts by the PC(USA) to combat climate change and move the world toward just and sustainable practices.

God saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

— Gen 1:31

Grace and peace,

The Reverend Frank Clark Spencer
President